An elderly homeless man froze to death in an open veld next to the Spur in Norkem Mall in Kempton Park, on the East Rand last night, Kempton Express reports.
The body of Daantjie Schutte, who had no known family, was frozen when paramedics turned him around.
According to Dewald Lategan of MML Security, they received a panic call from Brave Hawk Spur in Norkem Mall at 7.50am this morning.
When two reaction officers arrived, staff from Spur showed them the man lying outside. They immediately called the police, paramedics and senior MML officers.
When Andries Lourens and Lategan arrived they found no pulse. They recognised Schutte as the homeless man who used to stand at the traffic lights close to mall.
His blankets and clothes were soaking wet. Paramedics declared him dead at the scene.
Beadrix Verwey, who works in the shopping centre, said he was a regular sight at the traffic lights on the P91 opposite McDonald’s. “Maybe he was an irritation to many but that ‘omie’ had a heart,” she said.
“Only yesterday (Tuesday) he came to ask me for a Bible, as his had been stolen. He was looking for his family and I tried to help him, but with no success,” she said.
“I thank those who helped him with blankets and donations through these cold days. He appreciated it but during the night it was often stolen. I know he is with our Almighty Father now.”
A young man, whom he “adopted” and who used to beg with him, has been taken in by MES Kempton Park. A pastor took the young man to MES after the body of “Oom Daantjie” had been removed. He has been registered for the GROW work rehabilitation project run by MES.
The programme will afford him the opportunity to attend skills workshops and perform basic tasks such as removing posters and cleaning streets to earn an income.
“Ek en Daleen van Inkpot gaan jou mis, oompie,” Verwey said.
– Caxton News Services